Thursday Football Practice Notes

The weekly question had to be asked. "And you probably know what I'm going to say!" grinned Coach Sylvester Croom after Thursday's practice. Upon which, Mississippi State's coach confirmed that as of this afternoon neither Wesley Carroll nor Josh Riddell has been given the starting job for the South Carolina game. By tomorrow one of them will have, though.

"I'll make a decision after I watch the film tonight. I'm not going to make a public announcement this week. But after this game we'll pretty much know who our quarterback is going to be."

Which makes Mississippi State's game with the Gamecocks something of a season milestone, or maybe a temporary one until veteran Mike Henig returns in mid-October. Croom wants to know which of the quarterbacks to work as a full-time #1 man for the next couple of weeks, and is using Saturday's results to settle the issue. Temporarily, anyway.

"Because they'll both play and we'll see how they do, and know how we're going to approach the rest of the season." So, he said, naming a starter for this game isn't critical since both Carroll and Riddell will see action. "But it will next week, after this ball game." And as for the South Carolina starter, Croom said he'd probably tell both the result of tonight's deliberations Friday. The Bulldogs were to fly out of Columbus at 2:00 for the overnight stay in Augusta, Ga.

Freshman Carroll got the start last Saturday yet Riddell ended up playing as many series off the bench. It was Carroll who immediately replaced Mike Henig when the veteran starter was injured on the first series at Auburn; then after Riddell ran three turns in the second half Carroll was sent back in to direct the winning touchdown drive, without throwing a pass until the failed two-point conversion.

With Zack Harrington dropping off the team this week, true freshman Chris Relf has the third quarterback job all to himself now. Though, Relf is being redshirted if at all possible. "We hope we won't have to use him," Croom said. "But if we get a long-term injury we'll do that, we'll do whatever it takes."

2006 walk-on Harrington was unable to progress any higher on the depth chart last season or this past month even with injuries and issues at the quarterback position. The Oak Grove native was a Southeastern Louisiana signee out of high school but left before playing at the I-AA program.

"He came to me last week, he said it was getting to be a grind and he wanted to give it up," Croom said. "He was concerned about how I'd feel about him, I told him I had the greatest respect and it can be a grind. When it gets to be that, its time to give it up."

*Only three Bulldogs were injury-limited at practice, and two will be playing Saturday. DE Tim Bailey (groin) and DT LaMarcus Williams (foot) worked in purple today, and worked full-speed at that. They should both be on the travel roster, which won't be finalized until this evening. 70 players are allowed to make the conference game trip per SEC rules.

HB Robert Elliott (ankle) was upgraded from red-cross to yellow today. Still the true freshman will not be playing this game or, barring trouble in the backfield, at all this season.


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